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Birtalan, Ágnes (1992): Egy századeleji nyugat-mongol népdalgyűjtés műfajai és nyelve (Dissertation, manuscript) [Genres and language of a West-Mongolian folksong collection from the beginning of the [20th] century

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Folksong settings are usually the least appreciated works of a composer. Focusing on Béla Bartók's guiding principles in creating folksong settings, the author examine the motivations that have driven other composers to use folk material in their works.  The spread of the idea of nationalism, resulting in the endeavor to create an idiomatic national language of music played the lead in many cases. But the folksong as an exotic object also exerted an enormous appeal on composers and audiences alike, making folksong settings generally, but not always, a profitable undertaking as well. In the long run, the artistic quality of the folksong, its expressive power despite its succinct form, fascinated composers and inspired them to create a wealth of folksong settings. 

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The aim of my paper is to outline an overview of the collection of the Carmina popularia. In particular, I will criticise the modus operandi employed so far in arranging this corpus and meditate on what can be deemed ‘folk song’ in ancient Greece. As case studies, I shall take the five begging songs handed down to us. I shall also provide a revised text and a critical apparatus for each poem.

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Performance markings in the vocal lines of Bartók’s compositions are surprisingly sparse compared to how carefully the instrumental parts are furnished with detailed instructions to indicate the desired interpretation. The few markings in vocal parts, especially in the folksong settings, are mostly meant to create special effects. One possible explanation for this discrepancy might be found in the spontaneous, simple performance of the folk singers Bartók came across during his research. He presumably intended his vocal folksong settings to be performed in the same unaffected way that characterized the original folk performance. Comparison of recordings of folksongs and the sound recordings that preserved Bartók’s vocal folksong settings with the composer at the piano can put this assumption to the test.

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Bartók left behind over 300 folksong arrangements. In the field of vocal music, three series are based on Slovak folksongs: Five Slovak Folksongs for male choir (1917, BB 77), Four Slovak Folksongs for mixed choir and piano (1917, BB 78) and Village Scenes (1924, 1926, BB 87). The series are strongly connected among themselves in terms of textual content, formal concept, and treatment of folk melodies. In Village Scenes, Stravinsky’s influence is unmistakable. Not only was Bartók “influenced” by Stravinsky but he also imitated and even “quoted” Les Noces (1923). The article examines the relationship between the two works using Bartók’s 1928 essay Hungarian Folk Music and New Hungarian Music as a point of reference.

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Lajos Vargyas (1914–2007) studied music and poetry, folk music and folk poetry parallel in their dual entities. As a result of his complex way of looking at things, his major works (the monograph of the village Áj, the genre study of the ballad, and the comprehensive book on Hungarian folk music) all stand for this, in spite of their varying aspects coming from their different topics. Here his third monumental synthesising book is examined as far as the interrelationship of melody and text from multiple points of view is manifest in it, with its various consequences. The method of introducing the different aspects in regard to the correlations is first focusing on some select subdivisions of the entry “melody and text” in the subject index, then following the way of one certain tune along the book.

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Bartalus , István 1896 Magyar Népdalok. Egyetemes Gyűjtemény VII . [Hungarian folksongs. Universal collection]. A Kisfaludy-Társaság megbízásából és engedélyével s a Közoktatási Minisztérium és Tud. Akadémia

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Studia Musicologia 5 435 448 1965 "Experiences and Results in Systematizing Hungarian Folk-Songs," Studia

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Magyar népdal [The Hungarian Folksong], Budapest Bierhorst, J. 1979: A Cry From the Earth , New York, Four Winds Press Bierhorst J. A Cry From the Earth 1979

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their free compositions. Only their atmosphere, their primary matter comes to life in these works. 3 In relation to composition, Kodály considered personal involvement an essential condition for folk-song arrangements: the composer had to acquire

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